Eat. Pray. Love.

/ 2 April 2007

I’ve just finished reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Eat. Pray. Love. In some ways it’s a great “vacation” book, because it’s sort of an extended chat with a lively friend, a kind of “girl talk” for people who are also interested in spirituality. But I have to say that I’m ultimately pretty disappointed in it. As I read along (it’s a memoir of a year in her life spent searching — in Italy for pleasure, in India for devotion, in Indonesia for balance) I kept expecting that somewhere, somehow she would come to some insight about the communities in which she was doing this searching.

The book is sprinkled with lovely paragraphs -- she's an excellent wordsmith -- and she certainly acknowledges how much community and family matter in each of the places she visits, but ... I don't know. Somehow it just fell flat for me in the last chunk of the book. Perhaps it was something about the way the story concludes with her healing enough to fall in love? A fine "Hollywood ending" of sorts, but ultimately it felt way too individualistic for such an intense spiritual pilgrimage, and felt far more -- to me -- like spiritual tourism.

Last week I read both The Sparrow and Children of God, by Mary Doria Russell, and both of these -- although ostensibly "mere" science fiction -- were much more profound theological explorations of spiritual pilgrimage. I suppose that says something about my own journeys, too?